March 2, 2006
FULLERTON, CA -
It's "Home Sweet Home" for the Cal State Fullerton softball team (8-7 overall) this weekend as the Titans host 10 other teams for the 2006 Worth Invitational at the dual-diamond Titan Softball Complex on campus. Fullerton, which went 3-2 at the Palm Springs Classic last weekend in Cathedral City, Calif., will play six games in the round-robin event, facing four teams ranked in the national top 25.
IN THE POLLS
Cal State Fullerton is receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches poll, but has fallen out of the USA Today/NFCA poll w Of the Titans' four opponents this weekend, four are ranked in the top 25 - Georgia (\#11/12), Northwestern (\#16/16), Oregon State (\#9/9), and Stanford (\#5/6).
The Titans are 36-21 all-time against this weekend's six opponents, including an 0-2 record this season with losses to Oregon State 7-5 on Feb. 11) and Northwestern (5-4 on Feb. 17) w Fullerton has a winning record against five of its six opponents - trailing only Stanford (5-11) in the all-time series.
A LOOK AT THE FIELD
The Cal State Fullerton Worth Invitational is an 11-team, 27-game round-robin tournament with no official champion declared.
&\#149; GEORGIA: The Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 13-4 overall record after a doubleheader victory over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday. Senior Courtney Knight (.486-1-11) leads the offense while Kasi Carroll (7-1, 1.59) leads the `Dogs in the circle.
&\#149; NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats are 8-4 overall after going 1-1 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic before the event was cancelled due to rain. Senior Kristen Amegin (.382-4-12) leads the offense while Courtnay Foster (6-2, 1.96) has been the ace in the circle.
&\#149; TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders are 5-12 overall, having lost their last three in a row after a 2-4 showing in Palm Springs. Sophomore Jennifer Corkin is hitting .289 while Erin Crawford is 3-2 with a 2.22 ERA in the circle.
&\#149; OREGON STATE: The Beavers have won 13 in a row after losing their first two to open the season. Freshman DeAnn Young (.389-4-12) leads the offense while Brianne McGowan (8-1, 2.05) is the ace in the circle.
&\#149; PURDUE: The Boilermakers enter the weekend 8-6, having won four of their last five. Sophomore Tiffany Krcelich (.487-0-8) leads the offense while Brooke Baker (5-5, 1.70) has seen the most action in the circle.
&\#149; STANFORD: The Cardinal enter the weekend with a 14-3 overall record, going 4-2 at the Palm Springs Classic last weekend. Stanford features a pair of .400-plus hitters (Anna Beardman and Jackie Rinehart) and five players overall hitting .300 or better. Missy Penna is 8-2 with a 1.23 ERA and 69 K's in 57 innings.
A LOOK BACK
Cal State Fullerton emerged with a winning record from a weekend tournament for the second consecutive week, going 3-2 at the Palm Springs Classic with victories over Illinois-Chicago (9-7), Oklahoma State (8-2), and No. 8 Texas A&M (6-5) and losses to Kansas (4-0) and Maryland (6-2). The Titans' offense exploded on the weekend, hitting a combined .295 and setting and tying a new season high with 11 hits against UIC and the Aggies.
TITANS PROVE THEIR WORTH
Fullerton is a combined 19-8 since the inception of the Worth Invitational in 2001 and 2006 will mark the fourth consecutive season that the tournament will serve as the Titans' home opener. Cal State Fullerton's best showing in that span will be a 6-0 record in 2002. Last season, the Titans were 2-1 in a rain-shortened event.
BAKER CORRALS COWGIRLS
Junior right-hander Candice Baker almost defeated Oklahoma State all by herself on day two in Palm Springs, striking out a career-high 16 Cowgirls in the Titans' 8-2 victory. The total surpassed her previous high of 11 vs. North Carolina last season and stood as a tournament high until Texas' Cat Osterman struck out 18 batters in a 1-0 victory against Arizona. The 16 strikeouts by Baker were the most for a Titan pitcher since Jodie Cox (2000-03) struck out 16 vs. Rutgers on March 13, 2002.
KAMEKONA IS BIG KAHUNA
Cal State Fullerton sophomore infielder Amanda Kamekona was a sparkplug for the previously mentioned revitalized Titans' offense as she hit .474 on the weekend with three extra basehits and six runs driven in. Kamekona, who leads the team with seven multi-hit games this season, had three over the weekend in Palm Springs, including a pair of three-hit games against Maryland and Texas A&M.
PEREZ RESPONDS TO STARTING NOD
Fullerton senior utility Molly Perez responded quite nicely offensively after being given the starting nod in right field by Head Coach Michelle Gromacki. Perez tallied her first hit as a Titan in Fullerton's 9-7 victory over Illinois-Chicago and kept things going all weekend with hits in each of the Titans next three games. She also drew a pair of walks, stole four bases, and scored four times on the weekend.
GOING THE EXTRA BASE
Just 15 games into the 2006 season and the Titans are already trying to horde the extra base hits. Of Fullerton's 106 hits, 38 have gone for extra bases (36 percent), including 22 doubles and 13 home runs.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
Fullerton improved to 4-1 this season in one-run contests thanks to its 6-5 win over then-No. 8 Texas A&M in the finale of the Palm Springs Classic. Not only are the Titans winning those close contests, but they are doing it against quality opponents as Fullerton has also posted one-run wins over nationally ranked Fresno State and California this season as well as a close win over Syracuse.
WELCOME BACK, JENNA!
Redshirt sophomore Jenna Wheeler missed all of the 2005 season due to injury, but it seems as the effects of that have worn off as she has rebounded to lead the team in hitting at .359 this season with a pair of home runs and seven RBI. Wheeler has the distinction of holding the longest hitting streak by a Titan this season, hitting in five straight over a span of six games (a 0-for-0 performance with two walks and a sacrifice against Kansas is thrown in there), hitting .571 in that span. In all, Wheeler has reached base safely in each of her last eight games dating back to the Feb. 18 contest against BYU.
Sophomore Katie Gollhardt and senior Molly Perez currently hold the longest active hitting streaks for the Titans at four games. Gollhardt, however, has the more impressive numbers of the two, hitting .583 (7-for-12) in that span with four runs scored, three RBI and a pair of doubles.
Junior right-hander Candice Baker continues to rack up the wins as she has posted victories in five of her last six starts, posting a 5-1 record in that span. While her ERA is a tad high at 2.58 in those games, she has struck out 49 batters in 38 innings and held the opposition to a .221 average (30-for-136) in that span.
DOH! WE JINXED HER...
After such glowing talk about perfection in last week's notes, Cal State Fullerton sophomore catcher Kiki Munoz was charged with her first error in 50 games (245 consecutive chances) against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 24 in Palm Springs. On the brighter side, however, it was only her first error behind the plate as Munoz played two games at third base as a freshman - making the error at the "hot corner" in the 2005 season opener.
COACH Michelle Gromacki
Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Michelle Gromacki enters her seventh season at the helm of the Titans' softball program, continuing the tradition of success that has built Fullerton into one of the most prestigious programs in the country.
Gromacki has devoted the past 11 seasons to the Titans' program after spending five years as an assistant to Hall of Fame Head Coach Judi Garman. Gromacki has compiled a 235-112 (.677) overall record in her six seasons, which includes five trips to the NCAA Tournament and four Big West Conference titles.
TITANS PICKED TO WIN BIG WEST TITLE
The Big West Conference head softball coaches picked Cal State Fullerton to win the Big West title, as the Titans received six first place votes and 48 points in the preseason coaches poll released on Jan. 11.
Long Beach State finished in second place in the poll with 39 points and garnered one first place vote. The 49ers were followed by Cal Poly (32 points) in third, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific in a fourth-place tie (26 points), Cal State Northridge (16) in sixth, and UC Riverside (9) in seventh.